What is male menopause and what can I do about it?

In treating HIV patients, I have noticed that many have low testosterone levels, especially the very thin and sickly ones. I have seen miracles of returned energy, muscle weight gain, and healed depression from this treatment along with treating their HIV and any other infections. It has its place, but is not for everyone.

male-menopauseMenopause is the slowing down and then ceasing of menstruation in women, usually by 50 in a female of color and by 60 in an Anglo. Their ovaries tire out or are used up and don’t produce hormones as they used to. This takes roughly a year of irregular periods and then stops. The hormone levels take a cliff dive to zero. Replacing those hormones will keep their bodies from undergoing some of the changes of aging, but carry risks of breast cancer and heart disease. We used to give hormones to nearly all women until better research came out a few years ago. Likewise, it is probably dangerous to give hormones to men who do not have a disease, but have normal aging.

Men have a very gradual decline in their testosterone level and there is no physical marker of symptoms as in women (such as hot flashes, abrupt changes in mood, and a dry vagina). I researched 2 respected websites: The Mayo Clinic and The Cleveland Clinic to get information I can trust and then explain it to you. Many other websites are written by unequal unqualified people; anyone can write anything in Wikipedia.

Aging is a natural process and there may be a price to pay by fighting it. I am in my fifties and notice my body changing, aging. We all want to be young again. Avoiding chemicals (drugs, caffeine, tobacco), eating healthfully, sleeping well, paying attention to our spiritual side, having close family and friends, and exercising are the best ways to maximize our health. Don’t believe everything you read or hear.

Lower Testosterone Levels.
Testosterone levels normally decline starting at age 30. But there are those who have a level below the normal for their age. They will notice more fatigue, memory problems, anemia, less muscle mass, poor sleep, and less desire or ability to function sexually. It can also cause depression and lack of motivation. These problems are very common and can be caused by many other things. A low testosterone level for your age is called hypogonadism, meaning your gonads (testicles or ovaries) are producing less (hypo) of the hormones needed to function normally. If you wonder whether your level is too low for your age, then you should discuss this with your medical provider. Some call this andropause, which is a misleading term since there is no pause, just a decline.

Replacement or supplementation of Testosterone.
When needed, the benefits outweigh the risks. When not needed, then the risks become a concern. Testosterone20can increase the development of prostate cancer that is there already. Prostate cancer is detected by a rectal exam and blood tests. It can also make men more aggressive and harder to get along with others and cause “rhoid rage” (testosterone is a steroid). Some take DHEA, another male sex hormone which may increase their risk for prostate cancer.

Some insist on taking hormones for outer beauty, not needed for their health, and buy it off the streets. This can be quite dangerous. A medical provider’s job is to make you healthy, not to look like an over-muscled body builder by giving hormones. These men will have shrunken testicles that may never recover. They stack, or cycle different hormones causing withdrawal and rhoid rage at times. Some young men take steroids to excel at sports. If you participate in this unhealthy practice, make sure clean needles are used since syphilis, hepatitis B and C, and HIV can be transmitted from shared needles.

But rather than abusing steroids and breaking the law, put down the photos of muscle-bound men for a moment and think about whom you know is a happy, peaceful person. They have worked on their inner beauty and have become at peace with who they are and accept their aging. Of course they practice the healthy lifestyle changes mentioned above and see their medical provider if they think something is wrong.

To combat aging, some buy supplements over the internet or at a vitamin store or botica. Please remember that the FDA considers these foods, not medicines. They have not gone through the tests that an FDA approved medicine has, so we medical providers cannot comment on their good or bad effects. In addition, the company is not required to have the quality control that a medicine manufacturer must have, so the amount of the chemical the label says is in the capsule may far less or much more.

We humans evolved eating much fruits and vegetables; it is better to consume these than buying a capsule of something pulled from the fruit or vegetable, missing the rest of the nutrients in the plant.

The right amount of testosterone for your age works very well.

Keep those questions coming!